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How does the Public Land Grab movement, or the Bundy situation affect our wild horses and burros?

Val Cecama-Hogsett
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, Board of Directors
Oregon Wild Horse & Burro Association, Founder/Director
March 19, 2016

Going to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) I was interested to see how environmentalists might answer this question but first let me answer it from my perspective.

To give you a little history first we are speaking of public lands in 11 states where politicians and special interest groups have tried to turn ‘ownership’ and/or management over to states.

The movement is called the Sagebrush Rebellion, which in the past has also been called the "silent revolution." There have been 3 major times in history we've seen it rear up, and several times in between that are smaller or shorter did it really ever end once it began?

The first instance was in West in the 1890's. It was sparked by the "conservation movement." The conservation movement was the first time in our country's history that people wanted regulations to stop the mass rape of our land, and destruction of the ranges. Many bills and acts came in to play to achieve those goals thus creating the divide between western ranchers and miners who had never had any limits put on their public land use.

and it began in Nevada in the summer of 1979. It created a war between the federal government and some westerners over the question of federal ownership and regulation of western public lands.

The reason for the rebellion was, and still is, the belief that excessive federal control and regulation of the western public lands strips people and states of their rights. Rights such as; grazing cattle on public lands, rights to mine it, and rights to generate tax base from it. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, said it limits peoples' rights to control their own "destiny."

This movement was most recently ignited by Cliven Bundy, a rancher in Nevada who owes over $1 million in grazing fees to Americans, and whose ideologies twist the constitution and fail to recognize the U.S. government exists.

There are several organizations and politicians who support this movement. They can be broken into 3 different branches of the land seizure movement:

Who are the players and what are they thinking?

Ideological framework is the movements beliefs that are rooted in extreme anti-government beliefs (Posse Comitatus and County Supremacy. Below is a list of current groups and individuals involved in Public Lands issues. The names of organizations are frequently changed so the list cannot be done in entirety but we'll update often:

Name of Group What They Believe How are they Involved
Oath Keepers Oath Keepers are former military and armed services veterans.They arm themselves and take a vow to "disobey unconstitutional" orders. They believe the government is increasingly tyrannical. Members number in the 30,000 range. Recent activities have included but are not limited to: Guard Ferguson, Missouri, offer advice on Jade Helm Conspiracy Theory in Texas, staged the armed stand-off at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, closed off a public road to defend a miner breaking the law on public lands at the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon and staged an armed takeover and month long stand-off of the federal headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon Oath Keepers support the idea of public land seizures on the websites and their president, Stewart Rhodes stated that the federal government stole public lands at statehood from Nevada.
Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association 'CSPOA' believes that federal law enforcement officials have exceeded their Constitutional authority. Southern Poverty Law Center stated that CSPOA's leader, Richard Mack (a former sheriff) "has become the biggest proselytizer of county sheriff supremacy, the idea that the sheriffs are the highest law enforcement authority. Legal experts say the notion, which gives rise to the term, 'constitutional sheriffs,' has no standing in historical or modern jurisprudence." Sheriff Mack encourages the belief that federal authority is to be ignored and at times fought with statements like, "I don't believe that the BLM has any authority whatsoever..." He made this statement at a Bundy Ranch press conference.
Militia of Montana Militia was founded by John Trochman, known white supremacist. Known as MOM and is one of the best known paramilitary 'patriot' militias and started in the 1990s. Trochman in 2011, admitted MOM was turning organizing efforts to a new group focused on public lands. He stated "we (the militia) have a little organization called the Sanders Natural Resource Council." The Sanders Natural Resource Council publicly and vocally supported Senator Jennifer Fielder of Montana in her public lands seizure efforts.
Council of Conservative Citizens They follow the doctrine of white supremacy. They came under scrutiny when tenets were named by the man who killed 9 black South Carolinians in June 2015. Posts on their website show support for the anti-government protesters at the Bundy Ranch and Malheur Occupation. They stated of the Bundy Ranch stand-off that, "The people of Nevada are being denied the right to graze cattle, drill wells, or mine for raw materials...By keeping the land under Federal government, the Federal government use mining rights as a reward for political allies and punish political enemies." Their website highlights the land seizure issues.
Agenda 21 Conspiracy Theorists These radical conspiracy theorists believe that Agenda 21, which is a non-binding 1992 United Nations resolution that promotes sustainable development, is "a key step in secret plans to destroy property rights, redistribute wealth and ultimately, force the United States and other countries into a tyrannical, one-world government."The High Country news stated that anti-Agenda 21 activists are "increasingly influential" in the West and have "sabotaged planning efforts nationwide." One of the leading conspiracy theorists, Alex Jones has made a bridge between Agenda 21 and public lands stating that the Bureau of Land Management has "an obsession to grab more (land) so that the dictates of Agenda 21 can be implemented."

I mentioned 2 of the evolving philosophies of the land seizure movement that are the main ideologies but there are 2 others we see emerging. Below is a list of all 4 of these extremist ideologies that are continually evolving: